Personal assistants COVID guidance
Vaccinations for personal assistants
The COVID-19 vaccine is now being offered to all adults.
Visit vaccinations for health and care staff to find how to get your jab.
COVID boosters for PAs
Frontline health and care staff can book their booster vaccination online or by ringing 119.
Further advice about vaccination
If you have any questions, please visit:
Free flu vaccination
Personal Assistants are entitled to a free flu vaccination. The best time to have the vaccine is between September and November, before the flu virus starts circulating.
Getting the vaccine will help to protect you, your clients and your family from getting the flu. To access the scheme, go to a GP practice or community pharmacy and tell them you are a PA.
Proof of eligibility for PA flu or COVID vaccines
If you are asked to provide proof, some of the things you could use are:
- a letter from your employer
- an ID badge
- a payslip
We understand that these documents may be difficult for you to get so we can provide a letter of eligibility if necessary. If you are registered with our Support with Confidence scheme, you will receive an eligibility letter.
Otherwise, you can email PAIPCProtectCovid19@eastsussex.gov.uk to ask for a letter.
We recommend that you do this before booking an appointment. We will need to verify your role, so it would be helpful if you can provide the name of the client you support on your email. Please be aware that it may take at least 3 working days for the eligibility letter to be returned.
COVID-19 testing for personal assistants
Anyone working in adult social care who is not part of a regular testing regime at work can access twice-weekly COVID-19 testing, including personal assistants:
If you test positive for COVID-19 on a lateral flow test, you must self-isolate immediately and tell your employer.
You do not need to take a confirmatory PCR if you took a lateral flow test and the result was positive, unless you:
- want to apply for the £500 Test and Trace support payment
- are participating in some research or surveillance programmes
- have received a positive day two lateral flow test result after arriving into the UK
- are someone who is at particular risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and have been identified by the NHS as potentially eligible for new treatments
You should also report your result so NHS Test and Trace can trace your contacts.
If you test positive for COVID-19 via lateral flow or PCR you must self-isolate for 10 days.
It may be possible to end your isolation period before day 10 if you test negative on a lateral flow on days 5 and 6 and you don’t have symptoms. But if you test positive on either day, or have a temperature, you must observe the 10 day isolation period.
Please read the guidance on self-isolation to make sure you follow the exact procedure.
More information about testing and self isolation:
COVID-19 contact in the PA workplace
PAs must ensure they wear the correct PPE – see PPE and safe practice.
If you wear the correct PPE and the person you care for tests positive, you do not need to self-isolate and will not be included in contract tracing. This applies regardless of your vaccination status or the variant of COVID-19 circulating.
If you were not wearing correct PPE or were a contact outside of work, please follow the guidance below on 'Contacts of positive cases':
Contacts of positive cases
If you are a contact of a positive COVID-19 case, you do not need to isolate if you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Fully vaccinated means:
- you have received all recommended doses of an approved vaccine
- at least 14 days have passed
However, health and social care workers, including PAs, must:
- have a negative PCR result before returning to work (you may need to stay off work until you have received your result)
- take daily lateral flow tests for 10 days following the contact
If you are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated, you must self-isolate for 10 days after contact with a positive case.
If your contact is a member of your household or a client who has tested positive, this Safe at home infographic may be useful to refer to.
Information on testing
Watch a video on how to do a lateral flow test.
The Department of Health and Social Care offer a webinar for personal assistants on the COVID-19 testing process – choose a date and register.
If you have any queries related to testing, please call the national coronavirus contact centre on 119.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control
PPE grants for Personal Assistants
Grants are available for free personal protective equipment (PPE) for Personal Assistants until 31 March 2022.
Self-employed Personal Assistants
Self-employed Personal Assistants who deliver support in East Sussex can apply for a grant on our consultation hub:
These grants will be available to meet the ongoing costs of PPE from 1 July 2021 until 31 March 2022.
The closing date for grant applications is Monday 28 February 2022.
Employed Personal Assistants
Clients who receive direct payments and employ Personal Assistants in East Sussex can also apply for a PPE grant. We have written to direct payments clients directly about this.
To find out more, see: Coronavirus – information for people receiving direct payments
PPE and safe practice
When working with clients, you must always wear PPE.
If you are within 2 metres of a client then it's recommended that you wear a plastic apron, fluid-repellent surgical mask, gloves and eye protection (if there’s a risk of droplets or secretions).
The government guidance on working safely in home care is regularly updated and may apply to some of your duties as a PA.
You must wash your hands immediately before every episode of care and after any activity or contact that may result in your hands becoming contaminated.
- New gloves and aprons must be used for each episode of care.
- Face masks should be single use and disposed of before leaving the client’s home. A new mask should be worn before entering the next client’s home.
- Eye protection should be a disposable item of PPE or a reusable item used in line with the manufacturers’ guidance.
Disposing of waste and PPE
Place waste in a refuse bag and dispose of as normal unless the client has confirmed COVID or symptoms of COVID-19.
If the person has coronavirus (or any symptoms), any waste from cleaning areas where they have been, such as disposable cloths and used tissues, and PPE waste from their care should be:
- put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when three-quarters full
- disposed of as normal domestic waste 72 hours later
Do not put any items of PPE (or face coverings of any kind) in the recycling bin.
Cleaning and laundry
Normal household products should be used for cleaning. Washing with detergent and hot water followed by disinfecting with bleach will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces.
Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned 2 or 3 times a day. If you are cleaning within 2 metres of a client, then you should wear a Type IIR mask, plus the gloves and aprons you normally use for cleaning.
Do not shake laundry before washing. All dirty laundry can be washed in the same load. For more information see the Government guidance on laundry.
Infection control advice for personal assistants
PAs can contact us with questions about infection control. If you wish to seek advice or you would like a 1:1 conversation, get in touch. The team are here to help you!
Email: PA infection control
You can contact us from Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm and Fridays until 4.30pm.
Other support will include:
- advice sessions and risk assessment consultations with a dedicated Public Health Infection Control Advisor, by phone or by video call
- improved infection control training and resources for PAs
- virtual workshops for PAs to learn more about infection control and COVID-19 measures
Join our PA mailing list
Join our mailing list to receive information about infection control and COVID-19. Support with Confidence PAs do not need to sign up as we already have your details on record.
Email PA infection control with your contact details: name, address, email address, phone number, employment status (if self-employed /employed) and geographical area of work.
To find out how your information will be used, read our Privacy Notice.
If you cannot provide care for any reason and your service is essential to the client, you must ensure suitable contingency plans are put in place. If your client will be left without vital support, you must report this immediately to Health and Social Care Connect on 0345 60 80 191.
You and your employer should set up contingency plans to ensure that alternative cover arrangements can start immediately. See: Coronavirus – information for people receiving direct payments for more details.
Should I continue providing care?
If you have symptoms
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should not visit or care for clients until it is safe to do so. You should follow the Stay at home guidance.
If the person you are caring for has symptoms
If you are caring for a client who has symptoms of COVID-19 then you should minimise the risk through safe working practices by using personal protective equipment and disposing of it safely.
Providing home care
When delivering support and care services to people in their own homes, follow the government guidance on how to work safely in domiciliary care.
Protecting your client and others
You must help your client to follow the government guidance on staying safe at all times.
Personal assistants can accompany their employers to appointments to help with their communication and/or to meet their health or social care needs.
See: East Sussex Healthcare Trust for the latest information on hospital visiting, as restrictions differ depending on the ward or site.
Adult Social Care training
New Support with Confidence applicants and members approved since COVID
If you are applying for Support with Confidence accreditation regarding training, please ask for advice as to current requirements by emailing: Support with Confidence
You can update your training online. Please email Renee Jasper-Griffiths for advice on how to access this.
See the training page for details of other useful courses.